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Dare to know yourself

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

When my son turned 15, I offered him a test that I use to help teenagers discover their talents. A few weeks after, I noticed that he had not taken the assessment yet. I asked him whether he was experiencing any difficulties. He answered the question in the negative and added that he was just scared of the results. In fact, he was worried that he would be presented with a set of talents that would not help him achieve his dreams. To this I simply responded: “What if the discoveries you make eventually enable you to do just that and much more?”.

We all have got dreams, and dreams play an important part in our lives as they are a powerful source of motivation: they keep us going. However, sometimes we stall because we think that we do not have what it takes to achieve our goals. In his book The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho encourages us to pursue our dreams. He tells us that if we want something, all the universe will conspire in helping us achieve it. This is true, provided that whatever we are dreaming of is meant for us. In other terms, our dreams and purpose in life must be aligned. And that’s where our talents come into play.

Instinctively, we are all drawn to certain things. For instance, when I was a kid, I dreamt of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon, most probably because I spent a lot of my time visiting them, but not necessarily for the right reasons! More seriously, it was my Restorative talent trying to express itself. Likewise, you must have had times in your life where you picked up quickly on certain activities or had moments of subconscious excellence when you thought “How did I do that?”. Those experiences were being powered by your talents.

Aristotle, Andy Warhol's style

I am going to mention something important here, which I will cover at greater length later: Childhood is the period during which we are the most aligned with our purpose, or our ‘true self’ if you prefer. After that, our environment (school, family, society) moulds us in such a way that we often lose track of who we really are and what we really want.

Medicine was not for me and that’s totally fine. With hindsight, it might not have suited my purpose. What I mean is that it would not have been the best way for me to utilize my ‘set’ of talents. I must emphasize the word ‘set’ here, as we do not have a single talent but a series of them. As such, orthopaedics might have provided me with an opportunity to use one or two of my talents at the most, but what about the rest?

This is the reason why it is important for you to discover who you really are, so that given the opportunity, you can consider professional or extracurricular activities, which will enable you to optimize all our talents.  

Be kind to yourself…

[1] People talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.

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Francois Baudot-Life coach-4

About the coach

My perspective is built on a more positive view of human nature. I see individuals as driven to reach their potential. There is nothing wrong with wanting to fix one’s weaknesses, and in fact it should be the ultimate goal of our lives. But I believe that this is not where personal development should start.